3 Michigan State players charged after sexual assault investigation (Updated)

An independent investigation revealed coach Mark Dantonio acted appropriately to the allegations. (Getty)
An independent investigation revealed coach Mark Dantonio acted appropriately to the allegations. (Getty)

Three Michigan State football players were charged Tuesday with sexual assault after a lengthy investigation into a January accusation.

Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Siemon said Monday she would authorize charges against the Donnie Corley, Josh King and Demetric Vance regarding a woman’s allegation that she was sexually assaulted in a campus apartment on Jan. 16.

The three players were identified when the charges were made official Tuesday morning. Michigan State subsequently said they were dismissed from the team.

“When we choose student-athletes to come to MSU, we enter into a relationship with them and their families and we welcome them into ours,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said in a statement announcing the players’ dismissal. “We emphasize that success on the field is not enough as I made clear when all three individuals were suspended four months ago upon us learning of the allegations. They also must embrace our core principles, which include integrity, respect and accountability. The individuals in this case put themselves in a compromising position and did not live up to the standards we have outlined for our program.

“Sexual assault has no place in our community and I want to share my deep concern for the young woman affected and her family.”

Siemon said she won’t be pressing charges against a person who had worked for the Michigan State football program. The allegations against the former staffer “did not concern any allegation of criminal sexual conduct.”

The school announced the players had been suspended from the university in February. Michigan State also conducted an independent investigation into the football program’s handling of the accusations.

Former football staffer Curtis Blackwell’s contract wasn’t renewed at the end of May. Blackwell was suspended at the time the players were suspended and, according to a Michigan State memo, he was suspended for “several allegations” regarding his conduct.

The investigation was expanded to include the department’s handling of an April allegation of sexual assault against former player Auston Robertson.

Robertson, who was accused of inappropriately touching a female student while in high school, was dismissed from the team.

A report from the investigation was released Monday. The investigation deemed that, “in both instances, we found that senior leaders within the football program and the [athletic department] complied with the [Relationship Violence & Sexual Misconduct] policy by promptly and accurately reporting the information they learned about the underlying incidents to departments within the University that are tasked with investigating and responding to such incidents.”

The report – available in full here from the Lansing State Journal – also said the investigation found that no members of the football coaching staff, including Dantonio or athletic director Mark Hollis, “attempted to impede, cover up or obstruct the Office of Institutional Equity’s investigation into the underlying incidents.

Per the report, Dantonio found out about the Jan. 16 accusation from a player who told him that “I had to get her out of there. She is my friend.” While the report says Dantonio didn’t know the details of the incident or that it was a possible sexual assault, he reported the incident to other officials at the school immediately.

“Within minutes of speaking with the reporting player, Dantonio contacted the Director of OIE, And Durojaiye, to report what the player had said. Durojaiye informed Dantonio that OIE would contact the reporting player to conduct an interview. Dantonio asked if a member of the football staff could accompany the reporting player to the OIE interview, which Durojaiye confirmed was appropriate. After speaking with OIE, Dantonio contacted the reporting player to inform him that OIE would follow up with an interview and that the reporting player could be accompanied by a football staff member.”

The report says Dantonio then told the athletic department of what he knew and didn’t discuss the incident further with his players. It also states “Dantonio did not learn the names of the players allegedly involved in the January 2017 incident until after MSU PD had identified the players.”

The players were then suspended from the team. Corley had 33 catches for 453 yards and three scores in 2016. King had 10 tackles while Vance was a redshirt in 2016. All three players were four-star recruits in the class of 2016. 

An attorney for the alleged victim in the January incident said the school found the suspended players violated Title IX conduct policies. The report from the investigation said it was not commissioned to determine if the suspended players had committed crimes or violated Title IX standards.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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